Saturday, August 27, 2016

So birthday party season has come and gone

Most of you will know that all 4 of us celebrate our birthdays in less than a month :)

For K & C, we had a doughnut and hot chocolate party, in pyjamas, with their school friends on a Saturday morning two weeks after we moved in.

Now, to be fair, I am not normally that crazy, but I didn't think the move would be as bad as it was.

I actually "woke up" to the fact that there was a party happening on the Tues before the Sat.

We made it through - it was super easy - I bought nothing except food and washers for the doughnut necklaces. And the two packs of washers cost me R19.80.

I had the party pack stuff and the rest of the activity supplies already, and the food was all eaten except for some fun cereal which is now nearly finished.

Really easy. If you want a low-key party, do this :)

D doesn't like people too much :)  I joke, but he is an introvert so feels no need to have people around him on his birthday. They did throw him a party at work and really spoiled him - proper eats (lots!), and lots of gift vouchers from two teams.

So we went out to eat for his birthday and that was that.

(no presents this year because the house is not sold yet)

this is a perfect day for me

And then me. I had people over as I usually do, and it was fabulous.

I kind-of feel like if your birthday is on a weekend day, it's almost a sin not to take advantage of that, right?

I had my usual caterer cook my favourite dish, chicken biryani (no peas!), and we had some cakes for dessert.

I asked the friends not to bring presents and only one listened, and, I must confess, it was actually receive presents because every gift was perfect for me. Maybe the lesson here is to trust that the people in my life know me well enough and not to try to control everything :)

My MIL had a painting that she painted framed. This is so special because she painted it from a photograph that I took in Ballito a few years ago. It is beautifully framed and is proudly hung in our lounge.

That kind of thing. Everything was so meaningful.

I gave party favours as usual - mugs - and a couple of people told me they think of me when they drink from their mugs which, of course, thrills me.

Now at work, exactly nothing happened, except one colleague said happy birthday for tomorrow on the Friday afternoon, and another sent me a whatsapp the next day. That's it. Which is spectacularly underwhelming in every way. This year I was not hurt because I expected it. Another life lesson - make your own magic :)

And that was birthday season.

Funso took this picture of me which I love!

I'm planning to write more about the emotional stuff of turning 42 this week, and on my review process/ goal/ fun things process on the OQ blog, so stay tuned.

How do you like to celebrate birthdays? 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thoughts...on being 42

photo taken by C

This is a post I've wanted to write for a whole year (when I was 41!) but somehow I just never got around to it.

Anyway, that's why - imperfect as all my thoughts are - I want to at least start the conversation.


I used to have no issues with ageing. I honestly believe that every single year is a gift and a miracle, and one I am grateful to have, especially because we all know ladies who have died young.

There is a girl who was with me at school (class below mine) who died two years ago due to breast cancer.

That was a huge shock to me but, besides her death, I have always felt that to age is a privilege.

photo by D in the Bokaap


I also (I think) look reasonably good for my age - don't tell me if you disagree... yes, I need to lose 5 kg but don't we all... and I'd much rather K & C see a mother who is fit and healthy, than someone who eats lettuce leaves and is constantly talking about keeping those 5 kg off.

I have grey hair but I've had grey hair since I was 25 so there's that.

I do get shocked looks (genuine) when people find out my age because apparently I look younger. My optometrist was also shocked at my age because I "should have many wrinkles at my age".

My medical aid agrees as I am two years younger than I actually am :)

However, the toe thing makes me wonder if that is an age thing? Someone at work (older than I am) kindly added that a lot of things start happening from 40. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that but I do feel joints creaking a bit more. :)

There is one disturbing line on the bridge of my nose. Some would call it a wrinkle (!). I'm strangely fascinated with it - I keep pushing the skin up, letting it go and the line snaps back into place.


Obviously there'll be more of this kind of thing and I'll stop being so fascinated when that happens.
Photo by Connor, cropped by me


Here's the thing:

In my old team I was the oldest. Me - 42, there is 1 X 39-year-old, 1 X 38-year-old, boss is 32, 3 X 30-year-olds and a 29-year-old.

And that's where it started.

Things said like "well, I was only 8 when that happened"or whatever.......

My one colleague and I just give each other the look.

But it is weird - when I got married, these guys were 8 and 9 years old (Kendra and Connor are 7!). I was already working.

I've been working for nearly 22 years.

It feels like a lifetime if you stop to think (I don't!) and yet it also doesn't.

I did think when I had my birthday review that I'm not sure I can do another 18 years of this working thing (whatever this looks like) til I'm 60 (our normal retirement age at this company).

But then, these other years went so quickly too.

I do know I cannot keep working like this - with youngsters - for 18 years.

I always thought I'd be somewhere by now, more senior I guess. And yet do I really want to play the corporate politics game? No.

I need to get some coaching in this regard from someone objective because one thing is for sure - I don't trust an HR person as far as I can throw them.

I always thought I'd do "my own thing" - the coaching/ speaking/ training thing - but it turns out while I'm good at the technical side of it, I suck at marketing myself and I actually like having money.

Anyway, that's where my mind is wandering these days.

Tell me about you - do you have ageing issues? Be honest. 
And please share your thoughts on ageing in the workplace.

PS Read this great post from Design Mom on being 41.5 and the physical effects of ageing (she is about two weeks older than me)

PPS I will have to write more on the emotional stuff at a later date :)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What I learned this winter

This is my version of the "what I learnt this summer" I'm seeing on Emily Freeman's blog.

1. Working from home is amazing 
I really need my one day working from home every week. I started blocking out one day a week about 6 months ago to get some work done that I need to concentrate on. I can't concentrate properly at work - too many noisy people, and I say that as a chatty person myself.

I found that because I'm at home, I work extra hard to prove to someone (?) that I'm not slacking. But it works for me.

I usually try to take Thursdays if possible because that's the day my kids have TWO extra-murals after school and I can comfortably get everything important done by 3.30.

What with the move and going on holiday, I'd forgotten to block out time but I did last week and this week, and man, I have an empty inbox and other important but not urgent things done too.

2. Don't sell your home to a freelancer

Seriously, don't. The banks don't like freelancers and getting bonds (mortgages) approved is a nightmare, which is how our deal fell through.

Also, I figured out something the other day. I always say that I'm a tither and God has never forsaken me financially. Yes, this is the time to act out with that faith. I believe now that it's a bit warmer my house will sell in Jesus' name!

3. I have awesome timing with phones

Completely unintentionally... or maybe not ;) But I decided to go upgrade one weekend and the week following my old phone was practically dead. By that I mean it's charged, I take one photo and it dies. Yep!

So people say, "oh you got a new phone" and I grunt because it feels like a complete grudge purchase.

Also, I went onto hello peter earlier this week and suddenly my service provider is refunding money that they owe me. Grrrr.

4. Konmari is not once-in-a-lifetime, at least not in my house

I wrote so many posts about Konmari I could have written another book. It's been a year now and I need to go through the house a bit more.

Winter's nearly over here in Joburg. Yes, I know we will have a couple of cold spells but I've worn short-sleeved t-shirts 3 times already which is perfectly lovely but a big signal that my favourite season is nearly over.

And..... there are many garments I haven't even worn. I have definitely worn my favourites over and over (all the purples :)) but it's worth going through the whole bunch to see if there's any I can thank and send on their way.

5. Reading and drinking tea is totally my thing

I've read such a lot this winter. Connor asked me how many mugs of tea I've had in my life........... I told him, "no idea but a lot".

Really, is there anything better to do in winter than read? No, there is not.

Hint - leave your phone at your bedside table and go read in the lounge or somewhere else to get real, good quality reading in.

6. The beach is good, winter or summer

I really don't mind what the weather is like at the beach but I love the sound of the waves, walking on the boardwalk, taking my tea on the balcony and looking at the horizon.

It stills my soul.

And then I come back, edit a million photos and let those photos play as a screensaver til the next trip :)

I should actually put them on a flash drive, plug them into my digital photo frame and display them properly.

and last but by no means least..

7. Moving house is really not for me

(the process of moving house, that is)

How do people do this? I suppose some of you think "big picture" and focus on the goal and all those good things. I just can't function for a week and I wake up at 3 am dreaming of to-do lists.... No, moving really is for the birds.

I will confess something slightly crazy - on Saturday, D took the kids to the library and I was pottering (one of my favourite activities after reading!) around the house, and I thought, "oooh, this is one of the benefits of moving - there's always a corner/ a drawer/ a cupboard to tweak, sort, organise"

What have you learned this winter?
Check out the hashtag #marcialoveswinter on Instagram :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

So are you settled yet?

I'm getting this question a lot lately, understandably, because it has been just over a month since we moved in.

Yes, we are settled, I tell people, but I'll feel a lot more settled once the other house is sold.

On being settled...

I have a list of about 10 things for the handyman to do, and actually, it just occurred to me that I need to print one of my pages from the Amazing Life workbook because I made a list of 33 for the old house at the end of last year and knocked off 20 in 3 months. And then we bought this house :)

I know where everything is in this house now which is a big deal but all photos are not yet up because I need tons of hooks. Or lots of nails banged in my walls :o

Head settled is another matter altogether.

I chatted to the estate agent and we're going to reduce the price of our house so this thing can sell.

On the bright side, my savings account is looking slightly healthier every month as I add to my savings, and we get bonuses end Sept.

Big talk around work about how the pool is half of what it was last year, blah blah blah, I don't care I just want some money!

I think it's the first year ever I actually can't wait for that money :) Normally I pretend to not have it so it can stay in my account as long as possible without "plans" (after the tithe, of course).

Anyway, enough chit-chat. I have a list to get to - I want to review my year of 41, start thinking about some goals for 42, and other such exciting (to me) things.

Over to you.

How settled are you? Do you plan to move anytime soon? Do you plan to stay forever? Move to another country (the current trend)?

PS I was chatting to a work colleague who has THREE sets of friends moving back to South Africa from Australia. Life was much better in South Africa. It's true - we do have a great quality of life here.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The holiday highlights package

Before we all completely forget I was on holiday for 2.5 weeks, I thought I'd do a bit of a highlights package to remember the details:

Most controversial thing about the holiday

Not taking the in-laws with us. They're still a bit awkward about it but it was great family time for our little family.

Best meal

Thava at The Boat House. Thava is my favourite restaurant here in Jhb (I ask for all my mother's day and anniversary meals there) so it was one of the things I wanted to do down there.

Now that we've been, we will go every time.

Oh, we had naan bread, chicken korma and chicken biryani.

Most memorable food

The softest Portuguese rolls ever at Foodzone near our apartment. I only bought 6 - we had fried eggs one lunch time - and we all regretted not having more :)

Speaking about that Foodzone, the kids had never seen so many chocolates and sweets all in one place (poor "deprived" kids :))

Best idea

Using Uber and not renting a car!

Most disappointing news

That the house sale fell through :(

Favourite games

Ludo, dominoes and pick up sticks

Best thing I brought along

After my camera and Kindle, my bullet journal. I got used to messing it up on this holiday.

Kendra's favourite thing to do

Go for an adventure (running around inside the complex all by herself). Her father was a bit freaked but I was fine with it.

Of course, Connor couldn't WAIT til she got back to go adventuring together with her.

Connor's favourite thing to do

Walk on the boardwalk every day, and climbing rocks

Favourite things to watch on TV

Some soccer tournament (help me!) and WIMBLEDON!

Best things taken with us

Washing powder, jeans and sweatshirts. It was COLD!

Sweetest thing about the kids

Connor reading Kendra bedtime stories.

Best thing about the weather

Grey skies (TONS!) - usually we only get a day or two. This time we had many, many days and I have many, many amazing photos.

Next best thing about the weather

Tea, cuddling, reading, more tea, biscuits, etc.

Worst thing

D being sick for nearly the entire holiday :(

Best money saver

Seriously, Uber! I have a whole post on this for the Organising Queen blog next week.

Best beach read

Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe

Favourite photo of the kids

"we're being birds"

Best photo of palm trees :)

Which is your favourite photo? And highlight?

Sunday, August 07, 2016

All I want for my birthday

So I turned 42 yesterday.

That's a whole other topic of conversation which I will blog about this week.

I was thinking about how I really only want two things for my birthday:
  1. my house sold
  2. my toe healed

1. much has been said but I am recruiting 1 Thessalonians 5 prayer warriors (the pray without ceasing bunch)

2. I mentioned this as an aside in an Instagram caption before but the full story is this:

Round about the 11th July I noticed once I got into bed that my toe was a bit tingly/ numb/ pins and needles. Since it was the weekend after the move and I'd been running around for days I thought nothing of it.

This continued all the time.

I thought I might have circulation problems but even after going to Spanish dancing (lots of footwork!) and Zumba, it was still there.

It is still there.

On 28 July I went to the GP. I'd sent her an SMS to ask if I should see her or a specialist immediately and she wanted to see me first.

There is no other pain anywhere, no referred pain, nothing "happened" as far as I'm aware, so this numb toe is a complete mystery to me.

She thought I might have a slight ingrown toenail, prescribed anti-inflammatories (?) which did nothing for my toe but made all the water taste YUCK. I stopped after 4 days.

On Thursday 4th I went to the podiatrist and it appears I have nerve damage in the toe.

I'm rubbing Deep Heat on my toe every night, no extreme temperatures and such, and going for physio on Friday, and going to see her again on the 29th.

So that's where I'm at.

Such boring, grown-up things to wish for. Might this be a sign I'm growing properly old? :O

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Voting Day

I'm largely apolitical.

I do my bit and of course I vote, but I have a realistic view of what might and might not change, and so I vote, but I also pray that my situation is taken care of by God.


And then there are those who can't be bothered to go vote, and then want to have a big, fat moan about this and that in the country.

That makes me crazy.

Oh, there's a third group who feel like they need to convince everyone else to vote for their party.

I'm in a new team and the person sitting right next to me is a big supporter of the ruling party and was telling all of us to "vote properly". Oh my SOUL!

There was another who is a card-carrying member of the E. F. F. who was not as bad as the one above, but very vocal too.

All that to say... South Africans, I hoped you voted!

It was freezing yesterday and windy. Brrrr.

It is never ever my intention to get up early to go stand in a queue. I understand some like to "get it over and done with" but I like to breeze in and out.

You've got to plan it well - at lunch when people are hungry or late afternoon when most are done. Not that early morning sprint or the one from 5 onwards before the polling stations close.

It felt very decadent yesterday to have people over but it was perfect. When Robyn and kids left, I decided to work on photos for a bit and then go vote.

I ended up leaving the house well after 3:30 - one last visiting the loo, grabbing jacket, grabbing book, telling Connor to grab a book and jacket, and eventually we were out and got to the station at 3.55. We parked, walked to the hall, voted, took selfies and were back at the car at 4.00. Perfect.

We were so quick we decided to have a bit of a drive around the neighbourhood too.

How was your public holiday/ voting day?
Are you vocal about how you vote?

PS the top photo and the bottom one were taken on the last voting day. We'd just returned from our Drakensberg holiday and I'd just started my sabbatical. I'd worn that blue top on the last 3 voting days..... the first time when I was 22 weeks pregnant with the twins. Sadly, that top was Konmari'd last year.
PPS this is day 5 of writing daily for 20 mins :)

Monday, August 01, 2016

Happy August!

Happy August!

I started my 20 minutes of writing last night (to get this one up) and here I am on day 2, so I'm doing well so far.

But today I want to talk about my July reading.

I read 8 books in July, 1 of which was non-fiction.

My favourites of the bunch

1. Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe

This was a new author to me and I loved this book. I love books about food (!), summer, holidays and this had all of that.

A lovely, lovely, read. You'll want to book a holiday to Dorset.

(I then bought another of her books, an earlier one, and that is not nearly as good. Too much s*x and not enough substance!)

2. The Marriage Mender

I loved this book too - again, a first read by this author. It's about how a small thing can creep into a marriage and cause all kinds of havoc, and how easy it is to unravel a really good marriage.

Good pause for thought.

3. Do more great work

I've owned this book for a good 6 years or so, and only pulled out to read on the Gautrain travelling to a client.

I actually did most of the exercises which is really where the magic happens.

I had such amazing insights and I keep telling everyone to get this book. I highly recommend it.

Honourable mention

The Maeve Binchy

This was one I enjoyed the least of all her books thus far. Nothing really I can put my finger on except one of the characters was really annoying. Usually all her characters are equally flawed and therefore relatable, so this was a bit more than I liked.

How did your reading go in July?

Goodreads tells me I'm 16 books ahead of schedule which is lovely... and also means I'm going to slow down a bit if I start blogging more :o

All but 3 of my books were read on holiday, exactly as it should be :)


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